This year’s Ikorodu Oga celebration was a great mystery in the sense that no one expected anything but another drag and routine celebration characteristic of this festival over the past years.
Oga Day celebration which kicked off in the early 90’s with great fanfare suddenly degenerated in colour and participation few years after its debut. Hence many had lost hope that this year’s edition will take a similar narrative.
But alas, the new chairman of Ikorodu Oga Development Association, IKODASS, Otunba Ganiyu Olusegun Abiru and his team breathed a new life into the event.
The one week celebration manifested the charisma of the IKODASS leader and generated a huge success at the end of the seven day programming.
People could not help but ask what magic wand this former Clerk of the Lagos House of Assembly, a public servant and fine historian brandished which helped Ikorodu to bring out the best in them.
May be some of Ikorodu elites will later go to this man to ask the formula he used on the joker he displayed to achieve this level of success.
At the end of the festival on Saturday November 18, 2017 majority of well-informed citizens adjudged the edition the best in the past twenty six (26) years.
Signs of the successful event began on Saturday November 11, 2017 when the celebration was flagged off with a resounding Woro carnival display never seen and heard before in the history of this festival.
Almost all the registered clubs, associations and groups trooped out in their uniforms and were appreciated by a huge and enthusiastic crowd which lined the routes to cheer the Woro dancers.
Old, young, men and women, market groups, and different stakeholders joyfully participated in the dance round the town to different strategic locations in the community, sometimes referred to as the gates of Ikorodu.
Unlike in the past edition when the procession ended at about twelve (12) noon, this year’s version did not end until about 5p.m. The various cultural groups enriched the programme to the delight of HRM, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, his wife, traditional chiefs and other eminent citizens of the town. The strong statement made on this opening day of the festival was emphatic. It set the tone for the subsequent days and events.
The next day Sunday November 12, was tagged Oga Night. This reporter and other participants did not expect any big deal in terms of performance but we were proved wrong.
This night was to honor outstanding Ikorodu indigenes with awards. The turnout was sterling especially in terms of the quality of persons who graced the event.
One man dazed the audience, Otunba Akinola Awomodu, Otunba Anoko/Ogbonyari of Ikorodu, who gave the highest donation of the night N2million (two million naira). This engineer in the oil and gas industry surprised everyone with his outstanding presentation.
The very busy night which was like a marathon race also included ram fighting contest which trilled the huge audience. It was crowned with the award and fund raising exercise in aid of IKODASS civic center under construction.
Among the awardees were Prince Idowu Akanni Oyefusi; Alhaji Bisiriyu Animawun; Hon. Wasiu Adesina (Executive Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government): Comrade Arole M.B. Shoyebo; Mr. Lateef Abiru; Mr. Ashaolu Adeleke; Mr. Musbau Eshinlokun; Mr. Afolabi Munir Tinubu; Alhaji Olawale Kazeem; Mr. Abiodun Fatai-Abatan; Mrs. Khadijat Atinuke Anibaba; Mr. Afolabi Abiodun; Mr. A. Monsuru Adewale; Mr. Jubril Akinola; Chief Kamoru Bombata; Mr. Olanrewaju Olabinjo; Comrade O.O. Monsuru (Rado); Hon. Adeola Adebisi Banjo (Executive Chairman, Ikorodu West LCDA); Alhaji Idowu Modiu Babatunde; Alhaji Lamidi Ishola Folorunsho and Mr. Olusegun Olasunkanmi Bajulaiye Iluyombo, FCIA, several million naira was realized from this spectacular night.
On Monday November 13, 2017, the event went intellectual as a renowned woman of substance, Princess Ladega launched a book titled – Orisen, a historical account of the origins of the indigenous people of Ikorodu division and the various towns in the division.
The book launch blended with a medical outreach programme both at the Ikorodu Town Hall as many people received free medical checkups and treatments. The venue was filled up with people many of whom went home satisfied.
While the medical programme was free, the book launch raised quite a substantial amount of money for the stake holders.
By Tuesday November 14, 2017 the taste of the festival became natural as the organizers staged a menu exhibition displaying the original rich foods of Ikorodu people for the delight of wealthy indigenes and the elites many of who are used mostly to the white main’s food.
These local dishes became the talk of the town for that day as many people tasted and patronized the caterers. The town hall premises were filled to the brim including past chairmen of IKODASS who were specially recognized and honoured by their presence.
Wednesday November 15 was dedicated to the youths. It was tagged youths and children’s day. It also featured the Miss Oga Day Beauty Pageant and Role Model Award.
The role model award was won by Ologijo of Ogijo, Oba Kazeem Gbadamosi. The beauty contest featured many pretty and elegant girls who competed keenly for honors. It was won by Miss Kalejaiye Monsurat, who received a handsome prize. The three events in one day programme were also a huge success by all standards.
Thursday, November 16, 2017 was an incredible day. It was the day market men and women and the business communities paid homage to the Kabiyesi and his wife. They came out in their hundreds in splendid colours and dresses radiating joy and loyalty as subjects.
They danced and presented gifts to Oba Shotobi and his wife, Olori Kudirat. Each group came with whatever item or goods they sold and presented them as gifts.
In turn IKODASS gave award to the cleanest market in Ikorodu which was won by Itele Agbaku ultra-modern market.
Artisan’s performed with dances and all forms of entertainment while the climax was the social party at the town hall where Fuji king, Alabi Pasuma performed. The whole Ikorodu Hall premises and adjoining streets were filled up. It was like one Lagos Fiesta in session. Kabiyesi was there and if not for the weather (rain) the show would have lasted till morning. It was an incredible performance and successful outing by IKODASS.
Friday, November 17, 2017 was dedicated to the civil servants and all public officers. The blue, black and white collar jobbers came to felicitate with the Kabiyesi and IKODASS.
As engine rooms of government and development, they were highly recognized and acknowledged as they paid homage to the king from the federal, state and local government arms including the private sector.
The climax was on Saturday, November 18, 2017 as the venue shifted to Ayangbure’s palace. Here, all the clubs, associations, non-indigenous groups and others came to pay their respects and homage to the king.
The atmosphere that day cannot be easily described. Every inch of ground was occupied by people. Only God knows why other years this level of participation could not be achieved. From 12 noon till 6p.m in the evening the palace bubbled and tumbled with music and fanfare.
Governor Ambode sent a powerful representation in the person of two commissioners for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Rotimi Ogunleye and Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Muslim Folami
The popular Hon. S.O.B Agunbiade who received a merit award during this celebration came with many of his colleagues in the House of Assembly including a representative of the speaker of the House, to grace the occasion.
The atmosphere was electrifying as groups upon groups, clubs upon clubs, communities upon communities including the Igbos paid homages. There was no doubt that a lot of money was realized that day.
To show his delight, the Kabiyesi hosted a special dinner at the pavilion that night after he had taken his guests from Alausa and other communities round the palace to show them the new palace under construction and to let them sow into the building project.
A sumptuous dinner for the special guests rounded off the festival as a beautiful way to thank IKODASS for their incredible success and performance.
Everyone doffed their caps for Ganiyu Olusegun Abiru and his team and agreed the event was the best so far if not since inception of the Oga Day at last in the past two decades.
Amazed by this unprecedented success of this festival and by the huge support Governor Ambode gave and has been giving to Ikorodu development including Igbe Road and Ishawo to Ibafo expressway, the grateful king asked Ikorodu people if they will support Ambode’s bid for a second term or not. The response was a resounding yes which climaxed that day’s grand finale. Then followed the thank you dinner at the pavilion banquet hall, after the official closure of the day’s programme by 6p.m/
People kept asking themselves what had been happening to this festival in the past and what was the joker Abiru’s team invoked this year to achieve this level of success.
Again many recalled that there was amazement at the club night held in the Town Hall where almost all the registered clubs participated.
Unlike previously when ten (10) to fifteen (15) clubs out of the more than one hundred (100) clubs took part, this year, almost all clubs were present as the social nite which lasted till midnight. If not for the rain that disturbed, it would have spilled to dawn.
There is no doubt that the present Exco of IKODASS has etched its name in history books, shattering existing records and forcing people to yearn for more of them in the coming years. It can only get better from 2018 onwards they plead.